Men Behaving Badly
Men Behaving Badly is a British sitcom that was created and written by Simon Nye. It follows the lives of Gary Strang (Martin Clunes) and his flatmates Dermot Povey (Harry Enfield; series 1 only) and Tony Smart (Neil Morrissey; series 2 onwards). It was first broadcast on ITV in 1992. A total of six series were made, along with a Christmas special and a trilogy of episodes that make up the feature-length "last orders".
|Men Behaving Badly|
Series logo, which appears before the closing credits rolled. Gary and Tony dance badly in the background.
|Created by||Simon Nye|
|Written by||Simon Nye|
|Directed by||Martin Dennis|
|Starring||Martin Clunes |
Neil Morrissey (1992–98)
Harry Enfield (1992)
Dave Atkins (1992–95)
John Thomson (1996–98)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||6|
|No. of episodes||42 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Hartswood Films in association with Thames|
|Distributor||Fremantle licensed by BBC Studios|
|Original network||ITV (1992)|
Channel 4 (2014)
|Picture format||4:3 (1992–1997)|
|Original release||18 February 1992 –|
28 December 1998
17 October 2014 (Special)
|Related shows||Men Behaving Badly (US remake)|
The series was filmed in and around Ealing in west London. The setting, however, is implied to be south London, and many references are made to Surrey. It was produced by Hartswood Films in association with Thames for the first two series on ITV. They also assisted with production of the third series onwards that aired on the BBC, after Thames had lost their regional ITV franchise for London weekdays at the end of 1992 to Carlton Television.
Men Behaving Badly became highly successful after being moved to a post-watershed slot on BBC1. It has won the Comedy Awards' best ITV comedy, and the first National Television Award for Situation Comedy. All six series, plus the 1997 Christmas special and the "Last Orders" trilogy, are available to own on DVD as separate releases, as part of a box set and also to view on streaming platform Netflix in the UK.
Gary and Tony are two London-based beer-guzzling flatmates revelling in a second childhood, hours of TV, and mindless talks about women, the kind of behaviour that puts their relationships in jeopardy with Dorothy (Gary's girlfriend) and Deborah (an attractive blonde in the flat above).
Gary manages an office selling burglar alarms for a dead-end company. His staff of ageing employees are the meek George and lifelong spinster Anthea, who regularly drive him to frustration with their old-fashioned views. Tony stumbles through a range of jobs including modelling, bar work, and miming, after his record stall collapsed (somewhat literally).
Dorothy is an intelligent and mature nurse. She and Gary frequently split up and are occasionally unfaithful (including one fateful night when Dorothy sleeps with Tony), but they always end up back together. Tony has many girlfriends but his true feelings are for Deborah, whom he initially just wants to have sex with, but quickly falls in love with. Deborah is often disappointed by Tony's juvenile behaviour, but can also see his good side. The two finally end up in a relationship in series 6.
- Martin Clunes plays Gary Strang, manager of a security sales office with two old-fashioned middle-aged subordinates. He also owns the flat that he shares with Dermot, and later Tony.
- Harry Enfield plays Dermot Povey, Gary's original flatmate, in series one. Dermot is forever failing to pay his rent and is desperately in love with Deborah.
- Neil Morrissey plays Tony Smart from series two onwards. Tony is Gary's womanising flatmate, who is infatuated with Deborah.
- Leslie Ash plays Deborah Burton, an attractive blonde woman who lives in the flat above Gary and Tony. Deborah works in a restaurant, and although attracted to Tony, his immaturity, devil-may-care attitude and other aspects of his character push her away.
- Caroline Quentin plays Dorothy Martin/Bishop, Gary's outspoken girlfriend. She is a nurse who lives with her parents, and sometimes with Gary and Tony.
- Ian Lindsay plays George, an employee with old fashioned views at Gary's security firm.
- Valerie Minifie plays Anthea, an employee at Gary's security firm with views similar to George.
The show aired for six series and forty two episodes, including a Christmas special titled 'Jingle Balls', which was broadcast over Christmas 1997. A final short run of three 45-minute episodes was made in 1998 to conclude the series.
Series one was the only series to feature Dermot, played by Harry Enfield, and the only series not to feature Neil Morrissey as Tony. The episodes of the first two series are about 24 minutes long because they were shown on ITV and time was needed for advertisements. When the show began on the BBC, the episodes were about four minutes longer.
Men Behaving Badly is based on Simon Nye's 1989 book of the same title. Producer Beryl Vertue first considered it for a film before deciding it was suited for television adaptation. Harry Enfield, already a well-known comedian, was cast first. He had seen Martin Clunes perform in a play and recommended him for the other lead.
Enfield felt out of place in the sitcom and announced he was leaving after the first series. When Thames Television found out, their immediate reaction was to end the series, and they had to be persuaded to put on a second series, with Neil Morrissey replacing Enfield. After Thames lost their television franchise, ITV decided that a peak viewing figure of 7 million was insufficient and withdrew support. Incensed, Vertue approached the BBC who agreed to broadcast the show.
In 1994, the BBC aired the first of a further four series. The shift to a new station and a later time-slot meant, as the BBC have stated, the show could indulge in "more colourful language and behaviour". The show became highly successful on BBC1, drawing a cult following.
In 2002 it was revealed that Simon Nye and the cast had agreed to revive the series for three further specials the following year, in which Vertue wanted the show to focus on how Gary and Dorothy were coping with parenthood. The idea was shelved the following year after Caroline Quentin became pregnant. In October 2014, Clunes and Morrissey returned to the characters of Gary and Tony for the first time since 1998 in a sketch for Channel 4's "The Feeling Nuts Comedy Night" and Stand Up to Cancer telethon.
A BBC article suggests that Gary and Tony were "a reaction against the onset of the caring, sharing 'new man'. It appeared to revel in a politically incorrect world of booze, burps and boobs". Critics Jon Lewis and Penny Stempel have stated that the show "allowed male viewers to indulge in vicarious laddism, whilst allowing female viewers to ridicule the bad but lovable Tony and Gary". They further commented that "it was also a genuine sitcom in that the humour came from the characters and their context". Simon Nye remarked: "I don't do mad, plot-driven farragoes. You have to allow your characters time to talk."
Men Behaving Badly boosted the acting careers of all four of the main cast. The final episode in 1998 drew 13.9 million viewers. The show was criticised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for its portrayal of a "lad's culture of boozing and irresponsibility".
Book and audio releases
A companion guide to the show, The A-Z of Behaving Badly was released on 1 November 1995. It features many handy tips from Gary and Tony and was written by Simon Nye. On 27 July 2000, two audio compilations were released featuring eight shows from series three and four.
A script book entitled The Best of Men Behaving Badly was released on 5 October 2000. It contains 25 of the 42 scripts, along with some new material, black and white pictures, and introductions by Simon Nye.
All six series are available on region 2 DVD separately, and a complete collection featuring all six series is also available. The 1997 Christmas special and final trilogy 'Last Orders!' are also available on DVD.
While the rest of the series was shot in 4:3, the 3 episodes making up 'Last Orders!' are the only ones filmed in widescreen. However, the episodes are cropped for the DVD release. Owing to licensing difficulties, the music at the beginning of episode one 'Hair' and the rave in episode five 'Cardigan' had to be changed for the Series 5 DVD.
The entire series is also currently available on Netflix UK, featuring the original broadcast episodes (without edits) now licensed by BBC Studios. The episode 'Jingle Balls!/The Big Christmas Box' is listed as the 7th episode of Series 7 under the title 'Merry Christmas'. 'Last Orders!' is available to view in widescreen for the first time since broadcast.
|DVD Title||Discs||Year||Episodes||DVD release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|Complete Series 1||1||1992||6||25 January 2005||8 May 2000||14 August 2000|
|Complete Series 2||1||1992||6||25 January 2005||5 June 2000||14 August 2000|
|Complete Series 3||1||1994||6||10 January 2006||5 June 2000||14 August 2000|
|Complete Series 4||1||1995||7||10 January 2006||3 July 2000||14 August 2000|
|Complete Series 5||1||1996||7||7 November 2006||3 July 2000||14 August 2000|
|Complete Series 6||1||1997||6||7 November 2006||20 November 2000||14 August 2000|
|Jingle Balls!||1||1997||1||On "Last Orders" DVD||1 January 2008||N/A|
|Last Orders||1||1998||3||7 November 2006||1 September 2003||14 August 2000|
|Complete Series 1–6||6||1992–1997||38||N/A||22 September 2003||N/A|
|Complete Series 1–LO||7||1992–1998||42||7 November 2006||29 October 2012||8 August 2001|
The series was remade for American television, broadcast on NBC 1996–1997, and starred Rob Schneider, Ken Marino, Ron Eldard and Justine Bateman. The humour was not appreciated by US audiences and the remake was cancelled after two seasons. The original series was eventually screened in the US on BBC America as British Men Behaving Badly. In Australia, where the British version was screened under its original title on the ABC, the US series was broadcast as It's a Man's World on the Seven Network.
- Jon E. Lewis; Penny Stempel (1 January 1999). Cult television: the comedies. Pavilion.
- "BBC — Comedy — Men Behaving Badly". BBC. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- "How we made Men Behaving Badly". The Guardian. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- "Return for the men behaving less badly". The Telegraph. 8 July 2002. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- "Men to Behave Badly again". BBC News. BBC. 5 May 2002. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Going Badly: Sitcom return shelved". Chortle. 23 February 2003. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Men Behaving Badly return for charity sketch". BBC News. BBC. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Netflix in May: Every new TV show and film coming this month from Love Island and 13 Reasons Why to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt". The Independent. The Independent. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Men Behaving Badly (US)". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
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